Wednesday, March 10, 2010


As I may have mentioned at some point in the past, I recently spent some time learning about screenwriting. Last night, I completed the first draft of my first screenplay!

Soon after Artefact Nouveau was published at the end of 2005, I received an email from an independant film maker and screenwriter in North America who was interested in turning it into a screenplay for a possible future project. He said it was a suitable story as it contained lots of action and dialogue. He also siad that if I could turn it into a screenplay myself it would be more valuable. Of course at the time I had no idea how to do that, and the idea came to nothing.

Then, last year, after learning to appreciate comics courtesy of Murky Depths, I decided to have a go at creating a comic script. I used one of my own very short stories as a basis and found it a fascinating discipline to distill my own prose into scenes and dialogue.

At the end of last year I read Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, the new edition that included two screenplays that he wrote based on the stories. It suddenly ocured to me that writing a screenplay is very like writing a comic script - converting your story to scenes, action and dialogue.

I dug out Artefact Nouveau and had a go at the first page or so. It's very slow work. Then I decided to look up some information on how to write a screenplay and found some very helpful websites. I discovered that thet Bradbury script is what they call a 'shooting script' - with camera angles, transitions and all kinds of detail. What I needed to write is a 'spec script' - with just the bare bones that a director can play with as he sees fit.

So I started again. According to my calculations, the finished story would make a 45 minute drama - perfect for the BBC. Yes, I know, somewhat optimistic for a first screenplay.

What I need now is to find some friendly screenplay critiquing people to tell me where I've gone wrong.

It's been a fun and interesting experience.

1 comment:

Dr Ian Hocking said...

Hi Gareth

Good to see you and have a chat at Eastercon. Fun but a busy day!

I'd be happy to take a look at your screenplay, if you like. I've written a couple before...